Monday, June 18, 2012

Always Be Prepared - is your resume ready?

In my opinion, having a resume ready and up to date is like cleaning your house and your bathroom before going on a date.  Worst case scenario, the act of cleaning your house is a good habit and will put you in a good mental state.  Best case scenario, if the date goes well, you'll have an opportunity to show it off later that night!

Why is it that so many people wait until they're out of a job to update their resume?  If you want to get philosophical about it, I suppose it's because most people make reactive decisions rather than proactive ones.  We usually wait until the check engine light is on before we take it into the mechanic.... it's rare we just proactively take it into the mechanic. 

Having a resume ready and your linkedin profile nice and tidy is a proactive thing that you can do.  It's the equivalent of making your bed before a date.  That's just you being positive! 

Now that I've convinced you to get your resume ready you're probably thinking... where do I start?

1.  Tell a Story.  A resume is your story.  It's a little movie treatment of your career life.  Please make it interesting.  You're interesting.  I would wager that not every day in your work life was sunny and full of roses.  I'll bet there was more than one adverse situation or problem you had to use your wits to overcome... well, that's the stuff we want to hear!   I'm sure there are lots of stories about Luke Skywalker going to the bathroom or harvesting crops while his friends have gone to the academy.... but we like the one about him becoming a Jedi.  It's more interesting.  So.... tell us the interesting stuff. 

How do you tell a story?  With details.  
I have two friends who go out on dates a lot.  One of them describes the date as, "oh you know, blonde hair, blue eyes..."

I'm like, that's it!?!  That's like saying I have a car with four wheels that drives.

Then I have another friend, I ask him how the date was, he says, "oh she was great.  Remember Cameron Diaz?
"From when she was in the Mask?"
"Yeah, yeah!  She came out in the dress and did the dance thing"
"Yeah, well she's got this brunette Cameron Diaz thing going.  She picked me up in her Convertible M5, and we went to Korean BBQ downtown.  It was all you can eat.  I ate this giant strips of meat and they kept bringing soju and beer and I got so drunk I was dancing with some old lady when "Play that Funky Music" came on.  Later we drove up the coast with the top down, wind in my hair, and danced on the beach."

Lots of details!

Resume writing is just good writing.  It's not a car, it's a Cadillac.  It's not Blue, it's Robin's Egg Blue. Okay, so some specific examples for resume writing... 


Give a quick synopsis of the company underneath the company name.  Don't assume that everyone knows what the company does.  So it should read something like this...
Joe Blow Software is a Software-As-A-Service Company (SAAS) specializing in Insurance Software for Small To Medium Companies across the United States. 

Then what did you do there?

Recruited to join on-demand product.  Lead the conversion from classic ASP.NET 2.0 to ASP.NET 4.0, resulting in....
Brought in Agile concepts to my team by bringing articles and success stories of the process from other companies.  This resulted in....
Took junior programers out to lunch and stayed late to help them with their code, a sort of pair programming after hours.  This resulted in XYZ

You can talk about specifics of the projects, getting into tech buzzwords.  Throw it in there.    You see there are details about what you did, and the RESULTS! 

We'll talk more about different ways you can do this.  But, throw in a little personal style.  What is your story?  What makes you different?  What was your contribution to the company? 

Some food for thought!

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